It was a battle of two goaltenders on the first night of the new Pacific Junior Hockey League season. Cale Dolan and the Grandview Steelers came out on top, defeating the Delta Ice Hawks by a score of 2-0 at the Ladner Leisure Centre Tuesday night.
Hawks goalie Jordy Engleson made 23 stops on 24 shots, shutting down many Steelers attacks. The only goal he allowed was a close one, as the referees had to discuss the play before calling it a good goal.
Head coach Steve Robinson wasn’t happy with how the game went, but was realistic with his expectations starting the season with a new group of players.
“It was a little disappointing, obviously, not to get any goals and get the momentum in the game that we needed to generate energy,” he said.
“You look back at the game and it’s not capitalizing on 10 power play opportunities and being a little bit loose with the puck. Some of that is just natural in the early part of the season while you work out some of your bugs, so we’ve just got to move on, brush it off, and try and be better next game.”
After the first 20 minutes, the game was still scoreless. The Ice Hawks had four power plays in the period, but were unable to find the back of the net.
Delta ran into some penalty trouble at the end of the first, putting the Steelers on the power play to start the second frame. They didn’t waste much time, with Jameson Crawford scoring about a minute and a half into the period to take a 1-0 lead.
Engleson had a fantastic middle frame otherwise, making multiple key stops on a few Grandview breakouts to keep his team in it.
Late in the second period, Brad Fortin was taken down on a partial breakaway and was awarded a penalty shot, but Dolan denied him and kept the Hawks off the board through 40 minutes.
The offence came on stronger for the Ice Hawks in the final period, but Dolan continued his strong play, shutting out the home team. Crawford would add an empty-net goal late to make the final score 2-0 for Grandview.
Robinson said that this game helped him see what his team needs to work on before heading to North Vancouver on the weekend to take on the defending PJHL-champion Wolf Pack.
“We just need clean breakouts. You give a high-octane team like North Van second and third chances for zone possession, they’re going to hurt you. We’ve got to be one touch and out of our zone quickly and cleanly,” he said.